Rather than trying to pique your interest, I’m just going to say this plainly. According to a study published in 2020, daily spiritual experiences, defined as experiences related to God as well as “transcendent feelings not related to God” (like feeling a deep inner peace or harmony), make people happier. Daily spiritual experiences also help reduce the effects of stress according to this research.
These findings are the result of monitoring 2,795 people via their phones for 2 weeks, asking them about positive and negative emotions as well as their current activity at random times throughout the time of the study.
The results go even further by suggesting that if two people experience equal amounts of stress, the one with more spiritual experiences is less likely to report depressive symptoms and “more likely to indicate feelings of flourishing.” On an individual level, a person experiences greater mental well-being on days in which they have more spiritual experiences. Why? Perhaps because spiritual experiences reduce self-centeredness and increase a sense of connection with Someone/something bigger than our selves.
Here’s the takeaway for our families. We can use this knowledge to increase well-being in our family by encouraging individual and family spiritual experiences. How can we do that?
- Pray as a family and individually. Take a moment as a family to offer a prayer of thanksgiving before meals. Make prayer part of your family bedtime routine. This offers a time to offer prayers of gratitude, pray about difficult circumstances, and offer pray for other people.
- Attend worship services. Worship services offer a wonderful spiritual experience for the whole family.
- Watch for moments of awe throughout the day. When you experience a moment of awe, share that with your family. Savor moments of awe with your family as well.
- Practice daily spiritual exercises such as meditation, mindfulness, silence, serving others, or gratitude, to name a few. Make one or more of these spiritual exercises part of your daily routine.
- Sing together. Singing brings people into sync with one another. It can also contribute to a spiritual experience. Sing with your family.
- Attend religious services together.
These ideas will help shape an environment in your home that is conducive to spiritual experiences for your family and for each person in your family. With those opportunities for spiritual experiences, your family will also enjoy the benefit of greater happiness.